Book on prayer by parishioners, for parishioners
THE parish family at Kirkinriola in Ballymena, a vibrant example of a 'living church' in action, has produced a book on prayer based on the teaching of St Francis de Sales, whose Guide to the Love of God has been a source of inspiration since it was written in 1616.
Each chapter of the book, called To Live in the Love of God, is illustrated by personal testimony from a parishioner who explains how they pray following a simple pattern: compose yourself and become aware of God's presence; reflect on an event from the mission of Jesus; in peace and quiet pray to the Holy Spirit; and make a good resolution to do God's will in daily life.
Contributors include Gerry and Nuala McCann, who explain how God can be welcomed into lives through a welcoming parish community, and Joe O'Prey, who describes how to grow close to Christ by regular prayer and care for others.
Kevin McIlroy, a seminarian from Ballymena, explains how he combines his passion for social work with a close friendship with Christ the Good Shepherd, while Kyra Moore tells the deeply personal story of her successful efforts to overcome addiction by prayerful trust in God's mercy.
Margaret Cummins and Lena Meehan show how the parish's Spred group expresses God's love in kindness and friendship in their work with their friends with intellectual difficulties.
In a scripturally-inspired essay, Phoebe McDonald records how she replied to the challenge put to her at a parish mission to unify her will with God's by prayers of worship and praise.
Tracy Harkin, in accepting with love the care of a severely disabled daughter, gives a powerful witness to her trust in God's mercy and power - it is a powerful witness to the pro-life cause.
Christine Sawey from Koinonia explains how members of the John the Baptist lay community dedicate their lives to following his way, while councillor Declan O'Loan outlines how the values of the kingdom influence his political work in the community.
In his reflection on preparing children for the sacrament of confirmation, Fr Aidan McCaughan invites everyone to live in the Spirit.
Parish priest Fr Paddy Delargy said each chapter "may be taken as a unit for contemplation".
"The book is an exercise in spiritual theology rather than a defence of the faith," he said.
"It aims to explore and clarify what we Catholics believe and who we are."
:: To Live in the Love of God is available from the Ballymena Parish Centre and the Portglenone Monastery bookshop, price £5.